BBMAs 2018

Billboard Cover Sneak Peek: 5 Things Close to Romeo Santos' Heart

Meredith Jenks
Romeo Santos photographed on April 14, 2015 at Shangri-La Studio in Brooklyn, New York.

Some say Romeo Santos is Latin music's best bet for a crossover artist in the pop realm -- only thing is, the bachata king isn't so sure he's looking to fill that role.

Even so, he's already one of the biggest Latin artists of his generation. The 33-year-old singer has more No. 1 chart hits than any other Latin artist this decade, and he's the most-nominated artist at this year's Billboard Latin Music Awards (which will take place in Miami from April 27-30), with 21 nods in 16 categories.

21 Essential Facts About Romeo Santos

In this week's Billboard cover story, Santos spoke with Leila Cobo about the things and people close to his heart. Find out what (and who) they are and read Romeo Santos' full Billboard cover story in Billboard's special Latin issue, out Friday, April 24.

His Heritage
Unlike some Latin artists, Santos isn't thirsty for an English-language pop crossover. "I don’t have a problem doing one or two songs [in English],” Santos tells Billboard. “But I don’t feel it. It’s not a passion. English is my first language, but musically speaking, I write my music in Spanish. When I go into [the English-language] world now I have to depend on writers and producers. So, in that world, I don’t know if I’m capable of functioning and connecting the same way."

His Son
Although Santos bought a house for son Alex, now 14, and his mother (Santos' ex-girlfriend), he keeps them out of the public eye. Santos only did a People en Espanol cover with Alex "when he got to an age where he personally could decide ‘I want to be on a cover. I wanted to show him, ‘I’m proud of you.’ I wanted my son to understand that I wasn’t hiding him. I was protecting him."

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The Rest of His Family
His older sister, Laura, works with him as his personal manager, and his uncle Eduardo Fernandez Pou is involved in his touring stage show. When Santos brings a girl from the audience on stage for a provocative kissing-and-groping session during his hit "Propuesta Indecente" each night, his uncle has already vetted her. After asking her “Are you willing to go up there and not lose control and start pulling his hair?" Santos' uncle has the prospective partner sign a waiver.

His Idol, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
​Santos will be ringside when Mayweather takes on Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on May 2. “Floyd is not only great at what he does,” Santos says, “he’s also a great entertainer."

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His Privacy
While Santos is happy to address sex in his songs, he tries to keep his personal life out of the discussion as much as possible. When people started to question if he was gay (one of the songs on his last album, Formula, Vol. 2, details a young man's struggle with a homophobic father), Santos refused to give in and reveal his life. "I’ve been so private. That’s part of the reason they’ve said, ‘Is Romeo gay?’ No. I just don’t want to show you my girl -- if I got a girl. I’m not married. I want to sell music. That’s all I'm interested in selling.”

Read Romeo Santos' full Billboard cover story when it's out on Friday, April 24.